Johnson to talk trade with Government leaders

  • 25/07/2017
Boris Johnson NZ
Mr Johnson was in Kaikoura on the first day of his visit, where he met with locals. Photo credit: Supplied

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will be talking trade when he meets Government leaders in Wellington on Tuesday.

His talks with Prime Minister Bill English and Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee are expected to focus on agreements a post-Brexit Britain needs to replace those it's losing by leaving the EU.

Both sides will be keen to set the stage for negotiations, but any deals that emerge can't take effect until Britain's break with the EU is final, and that's at least two years away.

"Both governments have indicated a strong interest in a free trade agreement but we can't begin that process until they've exited Europe," Mr English said on Monday.

"We would want to encourage the view that if the UK needs to establish early its ability to negotiate FTAs, then New Zealand is a candidate for that."

A more immediate issue is the right of young Kiwis to live and work in the UK, but Mr English doesn't expect rapid movement on that either.

"We will indicate our on-going interest in improving the right of New Zealanders to be able to work in the UK," he said.

"But I think we should be practical about our expectations... they have to deal with fairly big challenges in how they deal with citizenship and access rights in their exit from the EU."

Mr Johnson will hold a media conference with Mr Brownlee after the talks.

He was in Kaikoura on Monday, the first day of his visit, and thanked locals for their kindness looking after stranded Brits following the November earthquake.

And he was vastly impressed with the scenery, describing New Zealand as the most beautiful country he had ever seen.

"And I think probably the only landscape that I can think of that could conceivably do justice to the imagination of JRR Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings."

Mr Johnson laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and attended a reception on Monday evening.

After his talks with Mr English and Mr Brownlee he will meet Labour leader Andrew Little and visit Zealandia before leaving for Australia.